Distribution of FSC-certified Forests

FSC-certified forests are distributed all over the world. FSC has been collecting maps of certified operations, while understanding the different conditions experienced by different forest managers and respecting the confidentiality of some of this data.


GIS map

Our interactive GIS maps make it easy to identify and visualize data relating to important aspects of the FSC system such as certified forests, international membership and regional presence.

Contribute to the map

We are displaying the boundaries of some certified forests on the FSC map. These are provided on an entirely voluntarily basis by our certificate holders or FSC partners.

We thank our providers and encourage other certificate holders to contribute their maps, in order to promote their operations as well as to increase the transparency of the FSC system.

We currently have a beta version of the map, which will be regularly updated with newly contributed files. We invite stakeholders to provide feedback on the map, so that we can make it better.

If you wish to contribute to the map with new certified locations, please follow this link to the platform where you can register and contribute to the maps. All files provided must meet the data requirements in this template. The registration on the platform is subject to terms and conditions and contribution to the map is subject to a license agreement to ensure authorised use of data by FSC.

Upon contribution, our qualified staff will validate the correctness of the data as a pre-condition to publication of the files. Publication may take up to two weeks, provided that the data submitted is correct.


  1. What is the primary purpose of the map?

    FSC, our certificate holders and stakeholders all value transparency. The map makes it possible for FSC certified forest owners to show where their forests are, and for stakeholders, researchers and consumers around the globe to access this information.

  2. Can I obtain original map files (shape files)?

    No, we cannot provide original shape files.

  3. Why do some areas have different visual representation?

    Some areas are displayed with different symbolism because they serve a visualization purpose in the interim. Although their geometric boundaries are correctly represented, the attributive information for these areas is still under revision. The values represented on the plots will not be updated.

  4. Why do some areas marked as certified forests not have forest cover?

    On some maps, especially in the Baltics, you will sometimes see a certified area that does not depict trees.

    In forest management it is quite common to have areas of land not covered by trees, either temporarily or permanently.

    This depends on the region and prevailing forest management practices. Reasons include the conservation of certain areas, restoration in progress, or temporary tree cutting for regeneration of forest that has maturated.

    Below you will find examples of situations like this:

    • Beaver flooded areas – forest area where land is covered with water due to beaver dams on small water streams, causing conditions where productive development of forest is not possible;
    • Water flooded areas – seasonally overflowing water courses where, due to repeated high-water levels, it is not possible to have productive development of forest;
    • Bogs (swamps) – in some instances, local swampy areas may contain a few trees, or very small trees, or no trees at all, but still be classified as forest land;
    • Glades – forest glades (small areas in forest without trees) is a natural formation of open area within forest where vascular plants dominate vegetation. This is still categorised as forest land and hence part of the certified area;
    • Clear cuts – in some regions clear cutting is the most viable way to manage forest areas because of species composition and climate conditions. In these regions selective harvesting will leave the remaining forest vulnerable to adverse conditions, such as storms. Clear cut areas regenerate and are maintained as forest land. In the years following a clear cut, the area may look like non-forest land from an aerial or satellite image due to missing tree cover;
    • Plantations (looks like grassland or agriculture land) – areas where afforestation is done (for example, in abundant agricultural land). Due to the very small size of plants in the first few years, and the age of the satellite image, it can look like non-forest land from aerial photos.
    • A temporal mismatch between certification data and the background map.
  5. Why do some of the certified areas include structures like roads or small villages? Are these also certified?

    When forest owners upload their shapefiles they are requested to provide only boundary data. This means that the file may show the outer rim of the certified forest area instead of the actual certified patches inside the rim. It is normal to have smaller exempt areas within a certified forest area. These areas are not always visible on a boundary data file but will be on the more detailed map shared between the certified forest owner and their certification body.

  6. How old is the background map and what is the source?

    The default background map depicts satellite and aerial imagery with a spatial resolution of 1 meter in many parts of the world, and lower resolution satellite imagery worldwide. The imagery is typically between 3-5 years old. It includes data provided by Esri, DigitalGlobe, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, GeoEye, USDA FSA, USGS, Aerogrid, IGN and IGP amongst others. For more details visit http://goto.arcgisonline.com/maps/World_Imagery

  7. Does the map depict all FSC-certified areas?

    No. Participation is voluntary for forest owners and as a result the platform does not include all certified forests globally. We encourage certificate holders to contribute their files to develop the map further.

  8. I have a certified forest. How can I contribute to the map?

    We would love to include your certified forest as well. Click here to contribute to the map. To participate you will have to accept our Terms and Conditions and provide us with the necessary permissions to use the data.

  9. Where can I learn more about the certification of the forests on the map?

    If you would like to know more about a specific FSC certificate on the map, you can find more on info.fsc.org, including public summaries of audit reports as well as a species overview. To find the certificate, go to 'certificate search' on info.fsc.org and search in the field 'certificate code' for the certificate number provided on the map.

  10. Will other forest elements be presented on the map (HCVs, local communities, etc.)? Will other maps be provided?

    The presented maps and their functionalities are not final. Adding different elements on the existing and future maps will be possible, depending on the data available and the usefulness to the public audience. Please subscribe to the FSC newsletter to keep up to date with new elements or tools that become available.

  11. Can I see chain of custody (CoC) certified companies’ locations?

    Currently the map does not feature the locations of CoC-certified companies.

  12. How can I report concerns related to activities in a certified forest?

    If you have concerns about a certified operation, please address the certification body that issued the certificate (this information will be available on info.fsc.org), who will undertake an investigation of the complaint.

    If you have concerns about the operation of the FSC certification system itself, the FSC network, the FSC accreditation programme or the performance of FSC-accredited certification bodies, please use the online reporting form provided by FSC and available at this link, where you will also find more information about the FSC dispute resolution system.